Nov 11 polls: Kogi tops in cases of ballot box snatching – Observer group


An International observer group, the Coalition for Democracy and Development in Africa, has said Kogi State topped the list of states with attempted ballot box snatching during the just-concluded off-cycle governorship election.

The observer group made the remark while commenting President Bola Tinubu and the Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa, for creating an enabling environment during the November 11 governorship polls.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, Thomas Uzah, the Executive Director of the observer group, said the military provided adequate security for electoral officials and materials during the election.

Uzah, however, said Kogi State recorded issues of ballot box snatching and other forms of electoral malpractice in some areas.

He said, “It was observed that there was a strong military presence in most of the wards and polling stations visited. They provided adequate cover to the electorates and INEC officials during and after the elections. Security operatives also provided sufficient security for the election materials and the states’ coalition centers before the elections’ commencement.

“There were pockets of issues in the states that saw the snatching of ballot boxes, disruption of the elections, and attempts to harass and intimidate perceived opponents by politicians and their associates.

“In most instances, the security operatives led by the military impressively neutralize these threats. It was observed that the police led security operations, and the military provided adequate cover.

“Military personnel deployed for election monitoring and safety were observed to be decorous and professional. There were a few instances where the military deployed force that resulted in injuries and loss of lives.

“However, this does not take away the fact that the deployment of force was in an attempt to protect the sanctity of the exercise. Kogi state topped the list, where political thugs attempted to snatch ballot boxes and disrupt the voting process.

“It was observed that the military provided adequate security at major entry and exit points of these states. The military conducted random stop-and-search exercises, and to a large extent, they prevented the influx of small arms and light weapons in the states during the conduct of the elections. Arrests were also effected, and the culprits were handed over to the police for prosecution.”

He applauded the professionalism of the military during the election.

“The conduct of the security agencies indicated a commitment to preserving democracy in Nigeria.

“The Defence Headquarters was also commendable in its supervision of the election operations. There were clear-cut communication channels that improved response time to security threats in the states,” he said

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